Teutonic Order - Deutscher
Orden - 1190
auf der Homepage des Deutschen Ordens
Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem
to the Website of the Teutonic Order
of the Hospital of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem
The Teutonic Order
or in its full name the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's
Hospital in Jerusalem - looks back on a long and
eventful history of more than 800 years.
Formally established as hospital brotherhood near the seaport Acre in the Holy
the year 1190, during the third crusade. In the prologue of the Order's Book it reads:
does not only know the time-bound form of swordplay, which has passed;
the actual composure of chivalrous men is rather
expressed in their commitment for the
Lord's kingdom, for protecting the defenceless, for helping the maltreated, those
the condemned and those in need." It is the pronounced goal of the Knights, Brothers and
the German Order to jointly implement this composure, abiding by the Order's
motto "Helping and Healing" With
this Website we would like to provide you with some
insight in the History of the Order, our work, in our roots and spirituality,
in our past,
but also the presence of the Order today.
Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ
"Order of the Teutonic House of Mary in
Jerusalem"; Ordo Teutonicus,
Deutscher Orden, "German Order";
officially Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen
Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem,
the Brothers of the German House of St.
Mary in Jerusalem"
ордэн, "Teutonic Order"
Danish: Tyske Orden, "German Order"
Dutch: Duitse Orde, "German Order"
Croatian: Teutonski Red, "Teutonic
Saksa Ordu, "German Order"
Finnish: Saksalainen ritarikunta, "German Order"
French: Chevaliers Teutoniques, "Teutonic
המסדר הטבטוני ,
"The Teutonic Order"
Hungarian: Német Lovagrend, "German Knighthood"
Latvian: Vācu ordenis, "German
Kryžiuočių Ordinas, "Order of Crusaders"
Norwegian: (bokmål): Tyske Orden
Portuguese: Ordem dos Cavaleiros Teutônicos,
"Order of the Teutonic Knights"
Polish: Zakon Krzyżacki,"Order of the Crossbearers"
Romanian: Ordinul Cavalerilor Teutoni,
Тевтонский орден, "Teutonic
Slovak: Rád nemeckých rytierov
ред-Tevtonski red, "Teutonic Order"
Swedish: Tyska orden, "German Order"
Swiss German: Tütsche Ordä, "German Order"
Töton Şövalyeleri, "Teutonic Knights"
Italian: Ordine Teutonico, "Teutonic Order"
Teutónica, "Teutonic Order"
Japanese: "Knights of Germany"(doitsu-kishidan)
The Introduction to the Teutonic Order of
of St Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem
Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem (Official names:
Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ
Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der
Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem), or for
short the Teutonic Order
(Today: German Teutonic Order), is a Two armed German Roman Catholic Order of Knights
up of a Religious Arm and a Secular Arm. It was formed to aid Catholics on their
pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to
establish hospitals to care for the sick and injured.
Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since
they also served as
a crusading military order during the Middle Ages. The membership was always small and
the need arose, volunteers or mercenaries augmented the military forces.
Formed at the end of the 12th century in Acre, in the Levant,
Order played an important role in Outremer, controlling the port tolls of Acre.
After Christian forces
were defeated in the Middle East, the Order moved to
Transylvania in 1211 to help defend Hungary against the Cumans.
expelled in 1225 after allegedly attempting to place themselves under Papal
instead of Hungarian sovereignty.
In 1230, following the Golden Bull of Rimini,
Grand Master Hermann von Salza and Duke Konrad I of Masovia launched
Prussian Crusade, a joint invasion of Prussia to Christianise the Baltic Old Prussians.
The Order then created
the independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights in
the conquered territory, and subsequently conquered Courland,
Livonia, and Estonia.
The Kings of Poland accused the Order of holding lands rightfully theirs.
The Order lost its main purpose in Europe with the Christianisation
of Lithuania. The Order
became involved in campaigns against its Christian neighbours, the Kingdom of Poland, the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Novgorod Republic (after assimilating the Livonian Order).
The Teutonic Knights had
a strong economic base, hired mercenaries from throughout Europe
to augment their feudal levies, and became a naval power
in the Baltic Sea. In 1410, a
Polish-Lithuanian army decisively defeated the Order and broke its military power at the
Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg). In 1515, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I made a marriage
alliance with Sigismund
I of Poland-Lithuania. Thereafter the Empire did not support the
Order against Poland. In 1525, Grand Master Albert
of Brandenburg resigned and converted
to Lutheranism, becoming Duke of Prussia. Estonia and Livonia soon followed, and
Order's holdings in Protestant areas of Germany.
The Teutonic Order kept its considerable holdings in Catholic
areas of Germany until 1809,
when Napoleon Bonaparte
ordered its dissolution and the Order lost its last secular holdings.
The Teutonic Order continued to exist as a charitable
and ceremonial body. It was outlawed by
Hitler in 1938, but re-established in 1945. Today the Order operates with two
seperate arms, a
Chivalric Teutonic Order and a Clerical
Teutonic Order which is run primarily with charitable
in Central Europe. Both the Chivalric and Clerical Knights wear white surcoats with a
black cross. A cross pattée was sometimes used as their coat of arms; this image was
for military decoration and insignia by
the Kingdom of Prussia and Germany as the Iron Cross.
The Grand Master (German:
Hochmeister; Latin: Magister generalis) is the holder of the supreme office of
the Teutonic Order. It is equivalent to the
grand master of other military orders and the superior general in
non-military Roman Catholic religious orders. Hochmeister, literally "high
master", is only used in reference to
Teutonic Order, as Großmeister ("grand master") is used in German to refer to the leaders of other Chivalric
Orders of knighthood. An early version of the full title in Latin was that of Magister Hospitalis Sanctae Mariae
Alemannorum Hierosolymitani. Since 1216, the full title Magister Hospitalis Domus Sanctae Mariae
Hierosolymitani (Master of the Hospital House of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Germans of Jerusalem) was used.
The offices of Hochmeister and Deutschmeister
(Magister Germaniae) were united in 1525. The title of Magister
Germaniae had been introduced in 1219 as the head of the bailiwicks in the
Holy Roman Empire, from 1381 also those
in Italy, raised to the rank of a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1494, but merged
with the office of grand master
under Walter von Cronberg in 1525, from which time the head of the order had the title of Hoch-und Deutschmeister.
The coat of arms representing
the grand master (Deutschmeisterwappen) is shown with a golden cross
fleury or cross potent superimposed on the black cross, with the imperial eagle as a central inescutcheon.
The golden cross fleury overlaid on the black
cross becomes widely used in the 15th century. A legendary
account attributes its introduction to Louis IX of France, who on 20 August 1250 granted the master of
order this cross as a variation of the Jerusalem cross, with the fleur-de-lis symbol attached to each arms
While this legendary account cannot be traced back further than the early modern period there
evidence that the design does indeed date to the mid 13th century.
In the prologue of Teutonic Order's Book it reads:
"Real Knighthood does not only know the time-bound
form of swordplay,
which has passed; the actual composure
of chivalrous men is rather
expressed in their commitment
for the Lord's Kingdom, for protecting
for helping the maltreated, those beset, the condemned
those in need." It is the pronounced goal of the Knights, Brothers,
Sisters and Marian Associates of the German Order to jointly implement
this composure, abiding by the Order's motto "Helping and Healing".